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Insider trading ring hired 'Ukrainian hackers to scoop stock market'

Stock price shifts anticipated by pinching corporate releases from newswires

The FBI says it has cracked open an insider-trading ring which employed Ukrainian hackers to pinch corporate announcements from news wires and then traded stocks based on the unreleased information.

Nine men have been named in a pair of indictments filed in New York and New Jersey. Five of the nine were arrested in a series of raids in the states of Georgia and Pennsylvania. The four others. who have been indicted on hacking and securities fraud charges, remain at large.

The hackers, who allegedly pilfered 150,000 press releases over several years from the servers of PR Newswire, Marketwired, and Business Wire, are thought to be located in Ukraine or Russia.

The indictment alleges that the information gleaned from these releases was communicated to the hackers' associates in the US, who bought and sold shares of companies including Boeing, Hewlett-Packard, and Oracle based on the stolen information.

"Money was then shifted offshore through Estonian banks," reported Bloomberg, citing "a person familiar with the matter". The scheme is alleged to have brought the criminals in excess of $30m. ®

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